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My Life as a Book

(My Life #1)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  4,417 ratings  ·  614 reviews
Summer's finally here, and Derek Fallon is looking forward to pelting the UPS truck with water balloons, climbing onto the garage roof, and conducting silly investigations. But when his parents decide to send him to Learning Camp, Derek's dreams of fun come to an end. Ever since he's been labeled a "reluctant reader," his mom has pushed him to read "real" books-something o ...more
Hardcover, 211 pages
Published July 6th 2010 by Henry Holt & Company (first published January 1st 2010)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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 ·  4,417 ratings  ·  614 reviews

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Okay, so my son who is in 6th grade was assigned to read this book for English class. He struggles with reading, and he was sort of freaking out about reading the book and being able to discuss it with his group in Socratic circles because the kids tend to be unforgiving with each other for mistakes. I told him we would read it together, so we would take turns reading it each day, and when he made a mistake with a word I helped him. I really loved this book because the boy in the book hated read ...more
Nov 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars rounded up because I absolutely love that the message that, just because a kid is tagged with the 'reluctant reader' label, doesn't mean he doesn't read, or learn, or isn't intelligent, or doesn't have mad skills in other areas.

I especially appreciate that Jake, I mean Derek, was allowed to *listen* to books sometimes. Yes, I know, there's a lot of learning about language, stories, etc. that goes along with the printed text. But the kinds of questions that went with the summer reading
Katie Kerns
Nov 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My Life as a Book
By: Janet Tashjian

Derek is the main character of this realistic fiction novel. He is around 11 years old and he hates to read. His mom, teacher, and reading tutor are always making him read. Derek would rather read and draw comic books. He is a wild only child. Derek's mom is a vet and her office is next door to their house. He is always playing with the animals that are staying there; this includes a very friendly monkey. Derek's dad is a cartoonist and animator of movies. This
Oct 08, 2012 rated it did not like it
I don't give up on many books. In fact, I think this might be the 3rd one ever. Yes, it's seriously that bad. Vetaran author Janet Tashjian is known for her, by all accounts, clever Gospel According to Larry series, but this effort for younger readers falls flat. Tashjian so obviously wants to mimic Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, but not only does she completely miss the mark with the humor, the drawings are atrociously bad and the marriage between the text and illustrations a shaky ...more
The Styling Librarian
My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian, cartoons by Jake Tashjian – Realistic Fiction, 4th grade and up – I was simply thrilled to discover this book series. Thanks to The Nerdy Book Club, Janet Tashjian posted about her book creations and I learned quickly what I was missing. I had initially overlooked this series because I saw it displayed with Middle School book titles so I thought that it would be too mature for my students, I was quite wrong. I’m pleasantly surprised sometimes when I am wrong! ...more
Neala Arnold
Jan 09, 2014 rated it did not like it
Derek isn't a reluctant reader--he's a militant non-reader with ineffective parents who use Learning Camp as a punishment. I hated that the mother tries to bribe him to read and that both his parents and teacher refuse to validate the sort of reading he does enjoy--Calvin and Hobbes books. At least Calvin has an expansive vocabulary, fertile imagination, and a great deal of reflectiveness. Derek tries to be Calvin, but he's just destructive and impulsive and there don't seem to be many consequen ...more
Sep 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book! I read another review that said the series is a kinder version of the Wimpy Kid series, all the fun, but this series has a plot. I wholeheartedly agree with that statement! The boy in this series certainly knows how to have fun and does get into a fair amount of trouble, but instead of whining about it, he learns from his mistakes and does what he can to fix the problems. This is a series of infinitely more worth!
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A very intresting book, the whole way through. The book is very realistic and it intrigues people by just reading the first chapter. It'll want to make you read longer than you thought you can. Honestly, 5/5
Jul 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ms. Yingling
Jan 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Tashjian, Janet. My Life As A Book.
This is a clever book. It looks like a regular novel-- same size, same heft, same sort of cover-- but on the inside, the font is about 14 point, with an inch and a half of white space on the side. There are cartoons illustrating various vocabulary words in some of this space. Right away, students will pick this up. Nothing kills interest faster than miniscule font.

As for the story: Derek is looking forward to a summer of highjinks, until his parents sign him up
Amanda Averill
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
My Life as a Book, fictitious text by Janet Tashjian and Jake Tashjian, was published in 2010 by Scholastic Inc. It is a guided reading level S, a lexile level 880, and appropriate for grades 4-6.

My Life As a Book follows Derek Fallon, a young man who wishes to spend the summer engaging in mischievous activities. His parents make the ultimate decision to send him to a camp. This is not the camp Derek expects. It's a Learning Camp. Derek is unsure of the new experience as he often tries to avoid
This is a book that both of my kids (age 10) have recently devoured (as well as the rest of the books in the series such as My Life as a Ninja/Gamer/Stuntboy/Cartoonist/Joke/ Youtuber etc) and while I am not the target audience for this, every now and then I like to pick up one of the books they are into and give it a read to see what is drawing them in.

The presentation of this is super cute in that it promotes vocab words as her teenage son illustrates the books and has little stick figures of
Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This books is about once upon a time a little boy did not like to study, but his mother was very hopeful that he could study and learned in the book. After that, his mother thought that if he could study, he would give him some reward. Later, the little boy fell in love with reading and thought it was interesting to study. After that, the little boy imagined his life as a book and imagined himself reading in the book as his own life, hoping to realize in real life it. I really like this book, it ...more
Beth Honeycutt
Jul 11, 2019 rated it liked it
A quick read that I picked up at NerdcampMI.
Nov 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Do you like to read? Do you like school? Well in this book Derek which is the main character of this book really dosent like to read or go to school all he likes to do is draw. The genre of this book is realistic fiction. My opinion of this book is I really enjoyed reading this book. I kind of felt sad in some parts of this story.

Where this story takes place is in summer. Derek wanted to find out who Susan James was from a newspaper he found in the attic but his mom wont tell him anything about
Aug 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
My Life As A Book, Janet Tashjian
This is a delightful, humorous tale of a boy’s coming of age. A mischievous 12 year old, who takes enormous pleasure in disobeying rules and having fun, has exhausted his parent's patience and is being sent to learning camp for the summer instead of being allowed to stay home and simply have fun. His efforts at these hilarious escapades sometimes backfire because some of his pranks are fun to him but could be dangerous to others. He tries to use a sun lamp to set
Dec 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
(Due out July 2010)

The enormous popularity of the *Wimpy Kid* series seems likely to produce a slew of imitations in the next couple of years, just as the Harry Potter books had every publisher looking for the next fantasy hit series. *My Life as a Book* looks at first glance a lot like *Wimpy Kid* - a similar kid-friendly font, stick-figure illustrations, and a narrator with a cocky and self-absorbed attitude. (The illustrations here are by the author's 14-year-old son, for various "vocabulary
Niko C
Aug 31, 2015 rated it really liked it

My Life as a Book is about a boy named Derek who gets out of school for the summer and starts to goof around so they send him to learning camp. While at home, he finds a family secret and it makes his summer fun and interesting. The setting of the book takes place at learning camp and his house. The book is written from Derek's point of view. The protagonist is Derek. Other main characters are Matt, his Mom, Dad and Susan James. This story is about how Derek's mom forces him to read but he ret
Dec 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Quite a clever and engaging read, My Life as a Book is humorous and thoughtful. Derek Fallon is labeled a reluctant reader and pulls just about every trick under the sun to avoid the three assigned books for summer reading. Every kid (and good librarians) knows that all you have to do is give a kid something he likes and WANTS to read and he'll do it. Derek procrastinates until the end of summer, all the while investigating the death of a young teenage girl some ten years ago on a beach in Marth ...more
Sandra Stiles
Oct 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
As a Language ARts and Reading teacher, my number one goal has always been to get students who think they don't like to read, to discover they do like to read. Often it is because they have no say in what they read. Other times it is because it is too difficult for them.

Derek is like this, he likes to read but not what others think he should read. He has been given a summer reading assignment. He is doing everything he can to avoid it. He stumbles across an old trunk in the attic with a newspape
Chris T.
Nov 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
I thought this book was good. It was about a boy named Derek who got out of school and onto summer break. His teacher Mrs.Williams wants his whole class to read three books over the summer. But Derek hates reading and his mom last year had to give him a chocolate chip each page he read. One day he finds a newspaper about a drowning in Boston. Derek was being babysat by that person when she died. All Derek wanted to do was find out more about her. During the summer he had to go to a learning camp ...more
Jan 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I gave this book to my 9 year old grandson for Christmas. He loved it. After he had all of his gifts open he sat down and started reading it. He has aspergers and he loves to read. I didn't realize that this book was similar to The Wimpy Kids series. He showed me at the top of the book it mentions the Wimpy Kid books. The cover and title was what drew me to the book and I was pretty sure he would like it. He read it once and than started reading it again. He showed me there is another book like ...more
Adele Broadbent
Jul 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Derek likes pulling pranks with his friend Matt, or with his dog Bodi. But after one prank too many he is sent off to summer school. This is definitely the worst summer in his life because: His teacher has given them three books to read and write reports on, his best mate Matt has gone away for the summer, and now he has to go to Learning Camp to help with his schoolwork.
But along the way he learns stuff about reading he never knew (which is quite cool), he learns something about himself and he
Carolyn Mcelravy
Aug 12, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a good story for reluctant readers, although I think the author is too quick to explain everything. Even reluctant readers can infer some of the lessons included in the story. The main character relates the story of his summer from discovering a newspaper article about a girl who drowned to actually finishing one of the books on his summer reading list. Every reader can relate to at least one character in this narrative.

The writing is clean and authentic. It sounds like a 12-year-old boy
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is about a kid that has a summer homework that has something to do with reading and found board so he decided to make his own book with his own adventure.
This book is very funny and it is interesting to read. This is highly recommended for all ages. This book is about a kid that has a summer homework that has something to do with reading and found board so he decided to make his own book with his own adventure.though it may be to hard for some grades that are in between kindergarten to
Nov 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Loved that the author's son was the illustrator. A poignant story about Derek who is not interested in summer reading. He has some pretty amazing experiences that help him to realize that stories are all around. When he returns to school in the fall, and does his class presentation, it is pretty cool. The author is a Calvin & Hobbes fan and I came across this cartoon that seems a lot like the voice of Derek! (Calvin is saying, "Instead of trying to learn, I’m just concentrating on liking myself ...more
Isaiah Rafael Cornelio
Aug 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It was summer and Derek fallon found an artical in his attic and it said that a acurred in his town. He was questioning his mom but she dident tell him so he spent all of summer questioning all towns pepole if they knew. Towards the end he found a person who was at the shore of the beach that ran a little store and that person saw it all so he toled Derek that it was his babysitter that tried to save him and died while his dog pulled him ashore.

My favorit part of the book was when he gets sent t
Hudson R
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing

This book is about a 12 year old boy named Derek Fallon and he is so excited that school is finally over. Then his parents drop a bomb and they tell him he has to go to learning camp over the summer. One day Derek was looking around the basement and found a newspaper about a girl that drowned in Martha’s Vineyard about 10 years ago so he does some research about it and found some pretty interesting things about the girl who drown.

I give this book five stars because I thought it was really funny
Aug 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
"Ever since my teacher said I was a 'reluctant reader,' I spend every waking minute avoiding my mother and her latest idea of how I should use my time." With cartoony, stick-figure illustrations in the margins of nearly every page, the book will probably appeal to those looking for the next read after "Wimpy Kid." The sarcastic humor, told in first person present tense, makes the emotionalism of the story go down smoothly. Great description of how using your imagination (by visualizing) helps yo ...more
Oct 11, 2012 rated it liked it
This was a cute book. It is not a book I would typically read but it is a book on the recommendation list for the Massachusetts Book Award and I thought I would give it a try.

Derek is a quirky 12 year old boy who likes to play practical jokes and hates anything to do with school. While in his attic one day he finds a newspaper article about a girl named Susan James who died on Martha's Vineyard. Derek becomes obsessed with finding out who this girl is and why his mother has the article in the at
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Janet Tashjian is a middle-grade and young adult novelist who’s been writing books for children for fifteen years. Her first novel Tru Confessions was made into a critically acclaimed Disney TV movie starring Clara Bryant and Shia LaBeouf. The Gospel According to Larry is a cult favorite and Fault Line is taught in many middle and high schools. Her novels My Life As a Book, My Life As a Stuntboy, ...more

Other books in the series

My Life (9 books)
  • My Life as a Stuntboy (My Life, #2)
  • My Life as a Cartoonist (My Life, #3)
  • My Life as a Joke (My Life, #4)
  • My Life as a Gamer (My Life, #5)
  • My Life as a Ninja (My Life, #6)
  • My Life as a Youtuber (My Life, #7)
  • My Life as a Meme (My Life, #8)
  • My Life as a Coder (My Life, #9)

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